Pays de Gex (France)
Pays de Gex, the customs-free zone in France just outside the western border of the Swiss city and canton of Geneva. A Mennonite congregation by this name was started in 1909 when Abraham Geiser, elder in the Chaux d'Abel Swiss Mennonite congregation, settled here near St. Genis, soon followed by several related families. Upon Geiser's death in 1926 his brother, Elder David Geiser in Chaux d' Abel, had the oversight of the congregation, with David Geiser-Glaus, a son of Abraham, as preacher 1929-1940, and Abraham Sommer from 1931. The services were held in German for years in an upper room in a farmhouse of the Zbinden family. Later a Protestant chapel was secured in St. Genis, where the French language replaced the German.
Recently a part of the Pays de Gex congregation began to hold evangelistic services on an interdenominational basis in the city of Geneva in a building called Entr'aide. In 1954 this group ordained Abraham Sommer as elder, in 1956 Jean Sommer and Charles Zbinden as preachers, and Werner and Jean Geiser as missionary preachers. Soon Zbinden and Werner Geiser were made elders. The rest of the congregation continued in the traditional Mennonite way at St. Genis, where in 1957 Albert and Louis Zbinden and Willi Müller were ordained as preachers. No formal schism occurred, but in effect there are two congregations. In 1958 the membership was 64.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 129. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
To cite this page:
MLA style: G., S. "Pays de Gex (France)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/P397.html.
APA style: G., S. (1959). Pays de Gex (France). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/P397.html.